The measures could include a Windfall tax (Picture: Getty)

A new financial package to help families hit by the cost of living crisis could be announced as early as tomorrow to take the sting off partygate, it has been reported.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will meet with the prime minister on Thursday to sign off the new measures, which could include a new windfall tax, help with fuel bills and assistance for the most vulnerable.

Boris Johnson is understood to be keen to be able to announce the multi-billion pound plan before MPs disappear for the recess after Thursday, according to Sky News.

But the timing will also raise questions following the publication of Sue Gray’s bombshell report into the Downing Street lockdown parties.

The explosive document gave details of gatherings at which officials drank so much they were sick, sang karaoke, became involved in altercations and abused security and cleaning staff at a time when millions of people across the country were unable to see friends and family.

It also included nine new photos shaming the prime minister and his cronies partying while thousands of people lay dying in hospital with coronavirus.

The spending package is likely to prompt ‘dead cat’ accusations (Picture: Reuters)

The report said the ‘senior leadership’ in No 10 must ‘bear responsibility’ for the culture which led to lockdown rules being repeatedly broken at a series of events in 2020 and 2021.

The prime minister, who said he was ‘humbled’ by the report, has been accused of turning Downing Street into a ‘cesspit of arrogant narcissists’ by the opposition, while a snap YouGov poll shows 59% of the population want him to resign.

The anticipated spending announcement tomorrow is likely to prompt accusations of a ‘dead cat’ operation to distract the country and his MPs from criticism.

The government has resisted calls for months to intervene in the cost of living crisis, as millions of families are pushed from poverty into destitution due to rising bills, taxes and prices.

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Previously it had been expected that no new measures would be announced until at least June, after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The prime minister is said to be hoping that announcing the measures this week will take some of the sting out of partygate, according to reports in Sky and the BBC.

Downing Street has denied using the spending plan as a distraction.

The expected acceleration of the rescue package comes after Ofgem announced the energy price cap would rise again in October to £2.800 – an increase of more than £800.

It is understood the government will argue that inflation and growth forecasts make delaying help unwise when the measures are announced.

But this has been met with scepticism by the opposition.

During a bruising PMQs session today, Sir Keir Starmer recounted how the government has repeatedly rejected his party’s call for a windfall tax and voted down the measure just a week ago.

He said: ‘What is it about the Sue Gray report that first attracted him to a U-turn this week?’

More: Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson responded by saying the government is ‘going to do more’ and that ministers would ‘put our arms around the people of this country’ – though he did not confirm what the measures would be or when they might be announced.

It is understood the package has not yet been fully agreed and any disagreement between Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak over the contents could still delay it.

The pair are said to have clashing visions on how best to help struggling families, with sticking points centring on the windfall tax and whether support should target the most vulnerable or be more universal.

Mr Johnson has reportedly invited a collection of economists with a range of views to explore the options available to him.

Attitudes towards a windfall tax in his cabinet have softened, though ministers have stopped short of fully committing to the levy, with some fearing it would put off investment.

Labour say a one-off tax on the profits made by oil and gas companies could be used to save families £600 this year.

But last week, Tory MPs voted that plan down, along with proposals for an emergency budget.

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